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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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1964 and 1967. The prevalence of abortion was much higher in the urban areas, rising from 15 to 28 percent over the 4-year period. A similar, nearly doubled increase in abortion experience occurred in rural areas where the percentage of women experiencing abortion rose from 4 to 7 percent. During the same period an increase in contraceptive use was noticed, in which the percentage of users rose from 9 to 20 percent of married women.
Individual reports confirm these high rates of abortion and provide more details. In a sample survey among married women in Seoul, Hong (30) found a total of 12,400 pregnancies which resulted in 10,200 live births, 1,500 induced abortions, and 700 spontaneous abortions. The ratio of reported induced abortions was 121 per 1,000 pregnancies and 147 per 1,000 live births. Of those reporting induced abortion, 47 percent had had one and 53 percent, two or more. Of the total reported abortions, 93 percent were induced in private clinics, 4 percent in hospitals, and 3 percent at home. The rates were higher for wives of white-collar workers and for those with large families. The author reported also that rates of abortion throughout the country have risen in recent years. The same author in a later survey (31) found that 5 percent of the women in rural areas, as compared to 25 percent in Seoul, reported having had at least one induced abortion. Of these abortions, 63 percent were performed in cities, 30 percent in towns, and 7 percent in rural areas. Of the women interviewed, 96 percent gave family planning as the reason for induced abortion—90 percent for family limitation and 6 percent for child spacing.
In another study in Seoul, Koh and Song (32) report the ratio of abortions to live births to be 1 to 3. The ratio, it should be noted, is twice that reported by the Ministry for South Korea. While these studies generally indicate a much higher incidence of induced abortion in Korea's urban areas, no significant difference between urban and rural areas was found in a 1966 KAP (knowledge, attitude, practice) survey investigating opinions about legalizing abortion. Of those who expressed an opinion, about 72 percent favored legalized abortion with little difference between urban and rural areas (33).
Other Developing Countries
There is evidence to suggest that the beginnings of a great wave, perhaps even an "epidemic," of induced abortion is already under way in many countries that are experiencing rapid population growth. Despite the apparent limitations of the data from these areas, the gravity of the situation can be demonstrated.
In India, for example, an analysis of pregnancy histories of 5,912 women visiting family planning clinics in New Delhi (34) revealed an average ratio of 9 abortions per 100 pregnancies. Higher rates were observed for women who were more highly educated and whose husbands were employed as officials in